Elections and Constitutional Amendments
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Ballots are being sent out in the mail this week. You’ll have the opportunity to vote on many important issues, including constitutional amendments. The proposed constitutional amendments first begin as a bill and must pass both the Senate and House with a two-thirds majority. Then more than half of Utah voters need to approve the changes for the Utah Constitution to be amended.
This year, you will not receive a voter information pamphlet in the mail but the State Elections Office made it available online here. Feel free to share this link with your friends and family. Voting is a sacred privilege, and an informed populace is essential to the success of our state and nation.
Here is a quick overview of all the constitutional amendments you will find on the ballot:
● Constitutional Amendment A – Changes single gender word language in the Utah Constitution to multiple genders. (eg: men--> persons)
● Constitutional Amendment B – Clarifies candidates for the Utah Legislature must meet eligibility requirements at the time of election or appointment and not at the time they are sworn into office.
● Constitutional Amendment C – Seeks to remove language referencing slavery or involuntary servitude in the Utah Constitution.
● Constitutional Amendment D – Changes Utah’s municipal water rights to allow cities to supply water outside of city boundaries as long as it does not interfere with the rights of other water suppliers.
● Constitutional Amendment E – Adds the right to hunt and fish in Utah’s Constitution while also promoting wildlife conservation, management and the reasonable regulation of hunting and fishing activities.
● Constitutional Amendment F – Removes the specific start date of the Legislative session from the Utah Constitution and instead specifies the start date in statute.
● Constitutional Amendment G – Allows the use of some income tax revenue to support services for children and for people with disabilities.
Funding education is a top priority for the Legislature. This year, when faced with an $850 million in revenue shortfall and necessary significant budget cuts due to COVID-19, we increased overall education funding by 2.2 percent.
S.J.R. 9, Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution - Use of Tax Revenue, extends the use of income tax revenue to fund critical programs for children and individuals with disabilities, pending voter approval. The Legislature worked closely with stakeholders from the Utah State Board of Education, Utah School Boards Association, Utah School Superintendents Association, Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, Utah Public Employees Association, Utah Education Association and the Utah Taxpayers Association.
As part of valued discussions with stakeholders from the education community, a companion bill, H.B. 357, Public Education Funding Stabilization, is a plan of action should Constitutional Amendment G pass this November. This bill will:
Protect, stabilize and grow Utah’s education funding.
Move the Minimum School Program funding, which includes the weighted pupil unit (WPU), to a constitutionally protected account for K-12 education.
Automatically adjust education funding for enrollment growth and inflation each year.
Establishes a reserve to meet educational funding commitments during economic downturns.
Here is a chart that breaks down the major changes created in these bills.
COVID-19 Updates and Resources
The graph below shows Utah’s ICU capacity from May 1 through October 6.
State Data (as of October 12th)
Total Cases: 86,832
Total People Tested: 922,931
Total Hospitalizations: 4,331
Total Deaths: 522
Estimated Recovered: 86,832
Utah County Dept Health
Total Cases: 23,622
Total Tested: 194,607
Estimated Recovered: 16,126
Top epidemiologists and economists urge a “Focused Protection” strategy when it comes to COVID-19 response, which includes:
Schools and universities should be in-person
Extracurricular activities should resume
Young, low-risk adult should work normally
Restaurants and other businesses should open
Arts, music, sports and other cultural activities should resume
Utah DWS Report
The Utah Department of Workforce Services released their Ninth Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance. Read the report here.
In the News
I Look Forward to Hearing From You!
I'll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol and if you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at email@example.com. He’ll help us get in touch.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.
Until next time,
Senator Dan McCay
Utah Senate District 11